Definition and background:
Comic Opera is drived from short entertaining scenes (typically with funny servants) that were played between the acts of serious opera. These were found in operas before the mid 17th century. The comic opera, or Italian Opera Buffa, is an outgrowth of these scenes and developed as a completely independent genre. There are several varieties of comic opera: Itailian Opera Buffa, French Op'ra Comique, English Ballad Opera, and German Singspiel). See also [It.] Opera Buffa; [Fr.] Op'ra Comique; [Eng.] Ballad Opera; [Ger.] Singspiel. an opera with light-natured music, comedy, and a happy ending. in contrast to grand opera
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary